Zoom demand for video-conferencing tech soars as employees work from home

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 31st Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

Estimated net worth of founder has increased by more than $4bn since coronavirus crisis started

From nursery school sing-alongs to FTSE 100 boardrooms and even UK cabinet meetings hosted by the poorly prime minister, a socially distanced world is reconvening in cyberspace with the help of Silicon Valley video conferencing app Zoom.

As governments across the world have placed their citizens on lockdown, downloads of video conferencing apps have soared to record highs and the companies behind them have seen their share prices rise while the rest of the global stock market tanks.

Zoom, which allows users to talk to up to 99 other people simultaneously, has emerged at the top of the pile with the app often leading the download charts in Apple’s app store. The company does not provide daily download figures, but app tracking firm Apptopia said Zoom was downloaded 2.13m times around the world on 23 March, the day the lockdown was announced in the UK– up from 56,000 a day two months earlier.

The app has been used to host virtual classrooms, church services and even blind dates and stag dos. It offers a free version for calls of less than 40 minutes. But it is the world of big business, for which Zoom was intended, that brings in most of the revenue. Corporate licences for big companies cost £15.99 per month per host (and require a minimum of 50 hosts). The company reported an 85% increase in revenue to $166.6m (£132m) in the three months to the end of October, the latest quarterly figures available.

Zoom’s recent surge in popularity has not gone unnoticed by investors. Zoom Video Communication’s share price has soared from under $70 a share in January, before the coronavirus struck western countries, to $150 on Monday. That gives the company a market value of $42bn – more than eight times the market capitalisation of British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines Group, for example.

Some investors got so excited, they accidentally invested in the wrong Zoom. Shares in Zoom Technologies soared by more than 1,500% as investors rushed to buy shares in what they thought was the video app company – but was actually a defunct Chinese wireless communications company.

The US Securities and Exchange regulator intervened to suspend trading in Zoom Technologies. Investors may have been confused by Zoom Technologies’ use of the stock market ticker ZOOM, while Zoom Video Communication has the ticker ZM.

The boom in Zoom Video Communication’s share price has turned its founder and chief executive Eric Yuan into one of the world’s richest people. Yuan, who owns 20% of the company’s shares, has seen his estimated net worth increase by more than $4bn since the Covid-19 crisis started, to $7.9bn.

According to the Bloomberg billionaires index, he is currently the 182nd richest person on earth, ahead of legendary investor George Soros, Star Wars creator George Lucas, and Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson.

Despite the huge increase in his paper fortune Yuan, who created Zoom with the aim of “making everyone happy”, said he is trying not to get distracted by checking the stock market.

“It’s good that I am 50 now. If you had asked me this question when I was 25, I would tell you, ‘yes, we are very excited about the stock price’,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press, conducted over Zoom.

“But, now, seriously, I can tell you the truth, it don’t matter. So the stock is up, it’s good for our investors. If it’s down, we keep working hard. I really do not focus on the stock price.”Advertisement

Yuan first came up with his idea for video-conferencing while at university in China in the 1990s, when he would travel by train for 10 hours to see his then-girlfriend, now his wife. “I detested those rides,” he told Thrive Global, “I used to imagine other ways I could visit my girlfriend without travelling — those daydreams eventually became the basis for Zoom.”

Yuan set his heart on moving to the US after watching a video of a Bill Gates speech about the transformational power of the internet. He said he knew the internet would be “the wave of the future” and he wanted to be in the “red hot” centre of it in Silicon Valley.

Initially his visa application was rejected, but “I continued to apply again and again over the course of two years and finally received my visa on the ninth try”, he said.

After more than a decade working on video-conferencing technology at Cisco Webex, Yuan became frustrated and decided to strike out on his own. “I firmly believed I could develop a platform that would make customers happy,” he said. “So in June of 2011, I decided it was time to make the video communications solution I imagined during my college train trips a reality.” More than 40 Cisco engineers followed him to Zoom.

Yuan said Zoom was not designed with home schooling or kids’ birthday parties in mind, but is delighted that his app can bring young people some joy in the lockdown. “Kids are pretty smart, they always figure out new use cases,” he said. “There are some very cool consumer use cases.”

While the Covid-19 pandemic has made him and his investors very rich, like everyone else, Yuan cannot wait for the crisis to be over. But he hopes that bosses will learn that employees can work just as well from home as they can in the office.

“I hope this crisis can be over very, very soon, but one thing I know for sure is that companies will learn this is the way to work,” he said. “I am pretty sure almost every company will be thinking about it and [will] say, ‘hey, maybe working from home makes sense’, and maybe let every employee work from home, maybe once a week. Previously, a lot of businesses didn’t even want to try.”

By Rupert Neate

British Airways temporarily suspending all flights to and from Gatwick Airport amid pandemic

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Tue, 31st Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

The company's boss warned earlier in March that the airline was in a battle for survival and would have to cut jobs.

British Airways is suspending all its flights to and from Gatwick Airport amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline has said it will continue to carry out essential functions such as maintenance, towing and cleaning in order to be ready to start up again effectively.

British Airways added in a statement: “Due to the considerable restrictions and challenging market environment, like many other airlines, we will temporarily suspend our flying schedule at Gatwick.

“We are contacting affected customers to discuss their options.”

Gatwick Airport in West Sussex is Britain's second busiest airport.

Just 33 flights were due to take off or land from there on Tuesday, according to aviation data provider FlightStats.

Gatwick's runway will only be open for scheduled flights between 2pm and 10pm from Wednesday.

The airport will also close one of its two terminals.British Airways pilots to take 50% pay cut in April and May

The measures will be in place for a minimum of one month.

British Airways' boss warned earlier in March that the airline was in a battle for survival and would have to cut jobs and park planes.

The carrier continues to operate some flights from its main hub at Heathrow.

Parent company IAG said flying capacity would be down 75% in April and May.Coronavirus: EasyJet founder in threat to oust board

Low-cost airline easyJet said on Monday that it had grounded its entire fleet.

Airports are responding to the decision by airlines to suspend the majority of their flights due to plummeting demand.

Countries around the world are introducing travel restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

London City Airport closed its runway to all commercial and private flights last week.

Southend Airport is only open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays between 4.30pm and 9.30pm.

The British Airways move comes as the prime minister is facing pressure to get more personal protective equipment (PPE) to health workers.

It has been claimed some nurses have been treating coronavirus patients without any protection at all.

The prime minister will chair a meeting of his cabinet by videolink on Tuesday as he continues to self-isolate in Downing Street after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

By Tom Gillespie

EasyJet grounds entire fleet of planes due to virus

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 30th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

EasyJet has grounded its entire fleet of planes and said it cannot give a date for when they will restart.

The budget airline said it had made the move due to the “unprecedented travel restrictions” imposed by governments globally due to the virus pandemic.

It had already cancelled most flights but had been running rescue flights to repatriate Britons stranded abroad.

The move came as regional airline Loganair said airlines were unlikely to survive without a government bailout.

The pandemic has had a severe impact on airlines, Loganair boss Jonathan Hinkles told the BBC's Tom Burridge.

He said that any airline saying it could survive without government help “would probably be lying”.

‘Challenging time'

EasyJet said its cabin crew would be furloughed, with staff paid 80% of their wage from 1 April through the government's job retention scheme.

The budget airline's boss Johan Lundgren said he was “working tirelessly” to make sure the airline was “well positioned to overcome the challenges of coronavirus”.

“I am extremely proud of the way in which people across EasyJet have given their absolute best at such a challenging time,” he added.

EasyJet's headquarters are at London Luton Airport and it has 331 planes. In normal times, it serves 159 airports and 1,051 routes.

Mr Lundgren said the airline had operated its last rescue flight on Sunday 29 March, but would continue to offer further rescue flights “as requested”.

The vast bulk of flights to and from the UK have been grounded due to travel restrictions imposed to control the spread of coronavirus, with many airlines expected to seek government help to survive.

Virgin Atlantic has already indicated that it will seek a bailout and other airlines are expected to follow suit.

The government has said it will only step in to help struggling airlines “as a last resort” on a case-by-case basis.

But industry group the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned of an “apocalypse” in the aviation sector as it urged governments around the world to help.

Loganair's Mr Hinkles warned that the connectivity of remote Scottish islands and rural communities across the UK “cannot be maintained without air services”, arguing that government support for his airline was “essential”.

Loganair operates routes to the UK's most remote airports such as Barra in the Outer Hebrides, where 19-seater planes land on the beach.

It is still running a higher proportion of its flights than other airlines because some travel to the most remote parts of the UK is still considered essential.

The airline is still ferrying people, mail and essential goods, such as pharmaceutical products, out to about 15 island airports.

Some of the most remote routes are subsidised by the Scottish government.

‘We have to fly'

Nevertheless, the Scottish carrier has had to ground half of its fleet and dramatically slash its flying schedule. This has put its entire operation in jeopardy.

“We can't just shut down”, Mr Hinkles said. “Morally, we have to fly.”

‘In the national interest'

Every airline is now negotiating with leasers, hoping that they will be granted more flexibility over payments.

Aside from the immediate problem of keeping the operation going, which Mr Hinkles believes is “in the national interest”, the longer-term problem is how quickly airlines like his can recover from the crisis – whenever travel restrictions are lifted.

He says that predictions within the industry about when airlines will fully recover are bleak.

“When a hairdresser is allowed to reopen, there will be a queue of people who need a hair cut,” he says. “That won't be the case with aviation.”

All airlines have called for additional support measures from the government to weather the storm.

The industry group Airlines UK and the Airport Operators Association have asked the government to cover air traffic control charges and payments to the Civil Aviation Authority until the end of this year.

Airlines also want a six-month suspension of the Air Passenger Duty tax, which brings in £3bn every year to the Treasury.

The boss of Loganair said the impact of the pandemic on aviation had been “fast and severe” and that continued support would be needed once the height of the crisis has passed.

In the case of his regional airline, he warned that it would be “easier to support the infrastructure which is there, rather than to try and build that infrastructure” in the future.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said that the aviation sector is “important to the UK economy”.

They added: “We are willing to consider the situation of individual firms, so long as all other government schemes have been explored and all commercial options exhausted, including raising capital from existing investors.”

Retailers seeing overwhelming demand in trade due to coronavirus

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 30th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, many retailers are seeing trade collapse, but others are overwhelmed by demand.

“We're as busy as at Christmas time,” says the owner of an online coffee business, “we're selling double.”

An outdoor games supplier is in the same position: “We've sold out of table tennis tables – they're the new loo roll.”

While families are stuck at home, they’re keen to find ways of keeping their minds and bodies active, well-fed and refreshed, as their purchasing choices reveal.

So, what's booming?

1. Bicycles and exercise gear

Whether for exercise or for a safer means of travel, bicycle sales are speeding up.

“People are thinking, I want to have independence,” says Will Butler-Adams, chief executive of the folding bike company, Brompton.

“I think sales in the UK across the industry are probably up around 15%.”

Meanwhile, the London Cycle Workshop is twice as busy as normal, servicing older bikes for customers trying to avoid public transport or “just looking for something to do”.

Retailer Halfords is also reporting a rise in sales of exercise bikes, saying: “People who are not able to get out still want to exercise indoors.”

Toby Clark, from Mintel market research, says his teams are seeing reports of “really high sales of home exercise equipment, as people try to compensate for the fact that they now can't get to the gym”.

John Lewis backs that up. The department store has seen a “significant uplift” in home gym equipment and other fitness products.

2. Outdoor and indoor games

Games supplier Andy Beresford says his entire stock of outdoor table tennis tables is sold and a delivery due this week is pre-sold.

“I've sold 124 tables in the last week, he says, “In the same week last year, I sold just 15.”

Orders took off when the government said schools would have to close.

Andy, whose business Home Leisure Direct is based just outside Bristol, has sold an “awful lot” of pool tables as well.

His pool table stock has halved from 500 to 250.

3. Home and garden items

Phil Jones of JustSeed in Wrexham, which sells a wide range of plant seeds, says he had to stop taking orders after a rush for staples including carrots, lettuce, beans and tomatoes.

“It's just the sheer volume,” he says, “We're catching up with a massive surge.”

Two of the biggest seed companies, Marshalls and Suttons, have stopped answering the phone.

For some buyers, there is a worry about fresh vegetables running short, but Phil says many are just looking for an activity.

“They've been meaning to do the veg patch for years and it's something educational to do with the kids,” he adds.

Another specialist retailer, Franchi Seeds, has taken down its website temporarily, saying “people are panic buying”.

Indoors, more people are taking up sewing and knitting as a way to beat the boredom of confinement.

London-based department store Liberty says sales of sewing accessories are currently up 380% on last year, while purchases of their craft kits have risen 228%.

4. Reading matter

Another pursuit that’s popular with people who have time on their hands right now is settling down with a good book. And perhaps surprisingly, fictional accounts of epidemics are in great demand.

At number two in Amazon UK’s chart of most sold books of the week is The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz. Although it was written in 1981, it describes a virus called Wuhan-400, in what appears to be an uncanny prediction of the coronavirus.

Another novel that is selling well is The Plague by French author Albert Camus. UK publisher Penguin says its sales in the last week of February were 150% up on last year and it is reprinting the book. Its sales have also risen sharply in France and Italy.

5. Electrical goods

As supermarket bosses have been telling us, there is collectively £1bn more worth of food in our houses than before the stockpiling rush started.

But where does it all go? You have to have somewhere to store it.

As a result, freezers and fridges have zoomed up the list of products people are searching for on online marketplaces.

There is a rush for laptops as well, also for office equipment, because many are finding that slouching on the sofa is not the best way to work.

Dixons Carphone said it had seen very good sales of equipment for home working (laptops, printers), for home entertainment (TVs, gaming consoles) and for home living (fridges, freezers, kitchen appliances), with same-store sales up 23%.

6. Coffee

Rave Coffee, selling exotic coffees from an industrial unit in Cirencester, is having to take on more staff to cope because demand has doubled.

“We have 11 members of staff and need another five,” says Vikki Hodge, who runs the business.

“People were buying our coffee for their office supply, now they are getting it at home,” Vikki explains.

“Where I had one office ordering, I might get 10 people ordering from their living room.”

Small firms ‘struggling'

But even the businesses doing well in the crisis remain in danger.

Andy from Home Leisure Direct says he has stopped taking orders for table tennis tables after factories closed in France, Spain and Italy.

“I think we'll go into lockdown before the end of the week,” he says, “I'll mothball the business.”

Andy has 40 staff, many of whom will have no work to do, so he is planning to apply for government funding to help with the wages.

Vikki from Rave Coffee is acutely aware that the businesses surrounding her on her industrial park in Cirencester are having to shut down.

“I can see the worry on their faces. They are small businesses struggling,” she says.

She believes keeping going is not just about providing more jobs. It's about providing funding for the firms which need help.

“We will pay our VAT and PAYE on time,” Vikki adds, “It goes in the pot to help them.”

By Simon Gompertz and Robert Plummer

15 Businesses that are FAILING because of the Coronavirus

Source: Alux

This Alux video we'll try to answer the following questions: Why are businesses failing in times of pandemic? How is coronavirus affecting the business world? How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting businesses? Are businesses failing because of the coronavirus? Why is the economy failing in 2020? Why is coronavirus affecting worlds economy? Why is coronavirus closing businesses? How has the Corona Virus affected you businesses in the world? Why do we need to stay inside considering coronavirus? Why do we need to be quarantined? Will the world go back to normal after coronavirus pandemic? Will the economy recover after the coronavirus pandemic?

How Automakers Are Working With Music Composers To Replace The Sound Of Engines In Cars

Source: BI


The increase in electric vehicles and hybrids on roads has also increased the risk of collision with pedestrians and cyclists. Since we have become used to the sound of engines alerting us to a car's presence, the silence of electric cars has caused safety concerns. To mitigate this risk the U.S. and Europe have passed a new regulation that requires EV's to emit a sound while driving under 18.6 mph or 30 kph to replace the sound of an engine. Automakers like BMW, Volkswagen, and Nissan are working with music composers to design sounds for their EVs. A composer from Man Made Music group guides us through their process of designing the sound for the Nissan LEAF.

The 15 BEST Countries to INVEST in Real Estate Right Now | 2020

Source: Alux

This Alux.com video we'll try to answer the following questions: What are The Best Countries to Invest in Real Estate Right Now? What are the top Countries to Invest in Real Estate Right Now? Where to Invest in Real Estate Right Now? Where should I invest in real estate to get good returns? Is It a Good Time to Invest in Real Estate 2020? Is it smart to invest in real estate right now? Where should I invest in property 2020? What is the best city to buy rental property? Where is the best real estate market in the world right now? What is the best country to buy rental property? Where in the world should i get into real estate 2020? How much money do you need to start investing in real estate? Where to buy a house? How to make money from real estate? Where to invest in a house? Where are the most profitable investments in Real Estate Right Now? What is the best country to invest in real estate? What is the best city to buy a house in 2020? What is the best country to buy a house in 2020? Where should I invest in real estate to get good returns? What is the most cheap city to invest in real estate? What is the most cheap country to invest in real estate? What is the most expensive city to buy a house in?

How Casper Became A $1 Billion Mattress Start-Up

Source: CNBC

Today, Casper is a billion-dollar mattress company leading the charge of online retailers disrupting an industry previously dominated by companies selling mattresses out of large warehouses. Casper's sales keep growing year-to-year and the company is even rumored to be getting ready to launch an IPO.

Gatwick London’s second-biggest airport to close north terminal as flights dwindle

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 27th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

London's second-biggest airport is to close its north terminal from the end of the month, Sky News learns.

London's second-busiest airport is to close one of its two terminals after a slump in flights triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sky News has learnt that Gatwick Airport has decided to temporarily shut its north terminal – used by carriers including easyJet – from the end of the month.

The decision, which is expected to be announced later on Friday, stops short of a full closure of Gatwick, although that option is understood to be being kept on the table as repatriation flights come to an end.

London City Airport has already announced its closure for several weeks, while Heathrow and Stansted, as well as numerous regional airports, have seen catastrophic falls in passenger volumes since the coronavirus outbreak.

Airport operators are in talks with the government about a rescue package as their revenues crash to their lowest-ever levels.

Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, wrote to aviation bosses this week to tell them that a “bespoke” support package might be available to individual companies once private sources of capital have been exhausted.

Gatwick is majority-owned by VINCI, the largest private airport operator in the world.

It serves 46m passengers each year, flying to 230 destinations in more than 70 countries.

Last week, Gatwick announced that Stewart Wingate, its chief executive, and his executive team would take a 20% salary cut and waive any bonus for the current financial year.

It also said it was axing 200 staff employed on temporary fixed-term contracts and contractors.

Further cost-cutting measures are expected in the coming weeks.

“Gatwick is a resilient business, but the world has changed dramatically in recent weeks and we have been forced to take rapid, decisive action to ensure that the airport is in a strong position to recover from a significant fall in passenger numbers,” Mr Wingate said last week.

A Gatwick spokesman declined to comment.

By Mark Kleinman

UK Government urged people not to move house to limit the spread of coronavirus

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 27th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

The government has urged people not to move house to try to limit the spread of coronavirus across the UK.

Buyers and renters should delay moving while emergency stay-at-home measures are in place, it said.

Its comments come amid reports banks are pressing for a full suspension of the UK housing market.

Lenders are concerned about the effect of the pandemic on valuations, according to the Financial Times.

Banks are also worried about granting mortgages during this period of extreme economic uncertainty, the FT said.

The government said that while there “is no need to pull out of transactions”, “we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times”.

If a property is vacant, people can continue with the transaction, although they must ensure they are following guidelines with regards to home removals.

But if the house is occupied “we encourage all parties to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move”.

Property listings websites say that interest in moving home has slumped amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Zoopla said demand in the week to 22 March fell 40% from the week before and it predicted housing transactions would drop by up to 60% over the next three months.

Meanwhile, it said a “rapidly increasing” proportion of sales were falling through, as would-be buyers “reassess whether to make a big financial decision in these shifting times”.

Geoff Grant, aged 60 and his wife Tanya, aged 52, from Dorset had been hoping to move house on 9 April.

However, Mr Grant is stuck in South Africa and the couple face having to pay rent to two landlords if their removal firm changes its mind about helping them move.

Mr Grant says there is already an overlap on the leases – the agreement for the new rental property begins on 1 April while the existing one ends on 9 April.

“If the move is delayed we'll have to negotiate with two landlords,” he says.

As it stands, the removal company the couple is using said at the beginning of the week it will still do the job. And while Mr Grant is stuck in South Africa on business, luckily his 20 year-old daughter is home from university to help lug boxes – at a six foot distance from the removers of course.

Rival website Rightmove also said the slowdown in the UK housing market had been “significant”.

“The number of property transactions failing to complete in recent days and likely changes in tenant behaviour following the announcement of the renters' protections by the government may put further pressure on estate and lettings agents,” it said, referring to the recent ban on evictions.

Lucian Cook, head of residential research at estate agent Savills UK, told the BBC the practical problems of buying and selling properties at the moment would have “a real impact on transaction levels”.

“There are real difficulties around viewings, getting mortgage valuations done, [and] the conveyancing progress.”

“Whenever we've had a fall in transactions, we've also had a fall in prices – I think 5-10% in a period of low transactional activity.

“We would stand by our five-year forecast of 15% growth over the medium-term. That's because we have low interest rates, low levels of price growth in the run-up to this and a pretty swift response from the government to protect jobs and earnings.”

In response to the crisis, UK Finance, which was formerly known as the British Bankers' Association, said lenders would extend mortgage offers for people who were due to move house during the lockdown.

“Current social distancing measures mean many house moves will need to be delayed,” said UK Finance chief executive Stephen Jones.

“Where people have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion this is likely to be particularly stressful.

“To support these customers at this time, all mortgage lenders are working to find ways to enable customers who have exchanged contracts to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months to enable them to move at a later date.”

Analysis: Simon Gompertz

Buying a home is the biggest financial transaction most people will ever make. No one wants to get it wrong.

Across the UK buyers are thinking again about whether they should take the plunge and whether they are paying too much.

Potential sellers are wondering if it is worth putting a house on the market.

So activity has already plummeted. One analysis suggests the number of properties being put up for sale has dropped by two thirds comparing this week to last week and is set to drop further.

Now the government is telling us to put off thoughts of moving until the crisis is over.

Moves can go ahead, with safeguards on human contact, but only if they are unavoidable or to unoccupied properties.

The result may not be a total standstill, but most likely a huge fall in completed sales.

Chancellor to reveal new COVID-19 Cash handouts for self-employed

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Thur, 26th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

The monthly cap is likely to be lower than the £2,500 announced for staff employees last Friday.

A coronavirus bail-out for the self-employed is being unveiled by the chancellor after pressure from MPs, but handouts could go to only one in three of the five million who work for themselves.

Rishi Sunak will announce an emergency package at Boris Johnson's daily Downing Street news conference, promising help for groups such as builders, taxi drivers, hairdressers and childminders.

But while he will promise to match the 80% of earnings he promised staff employees last Friday, the monthly cap is likely to be lower than the £2,500 in that coronavirus scheme because many self-employed pay less tax.

And it is likely only about 1.7 million, a third of the UK's self-employed, will qualify, with those who have separate earnings as company employees and those on Universal Credit – already promised help – excluded. Coronavirus UK tracker: How many cases are in your area – updated daily

MPs have been warned that the aid package for the self-employed is highly complicated. And Treasury officials worked through the night in a race against time to complete preparations for its Downing Street launch.

In the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Sunak – poised to unveil his second massive state bailout for workers in less than a week – told MPs: “We will not be able to protect every single job or save every single business.”

And at Prime Minister's Questions, under pressure from MPs of all parties, Mr Johnson admitted: “I cannot, in all candour, promise that we will be able to get through this crisis without any kind of hardship at all.”

Later, at his latest Downing Street news conference, the prime minister revealed: “You'll be hearing more from Rishi Sunak, the chancellor tomorrow, about what we're doing to help the self-employed.”

He added: “I think people do understand the complexity of their working arrangements has made it harder to come up with the right tailored programme and that is coming forward tomorrow.”Coronavirus: The infection numbers in real time

At PMQs, Mr Johnson promised MPs: “We will do whatever we can to support the self-employed, just as we are putting our arms around every single employed person in this country.”

Pressed by the SNP leader Ian Blackford, Mr Johnson promised “parity of support” for the self-employed, matching the handouts announced by the Chancellor last week for those in salaried employment.

“There are particular difficulties with those who are not on PAYE schemes,” Mr Johnson said. “We are bringing forward a package to ensure that everybody gets the support that they need.”

Attacking the delay, Jeremy Corbyn challenged the PM: “The self-employed are having to choose whether they go to work or stay at home and face losing their entire livelihood, relying instead on an overstretched welfare system, which could pay as little as £94 per week.

“One self-employed person said that they need to pay for baby food, rent, council tax and insurance for the car they use for work, being ‘faced with a decision to feed your family and pay your bills, or stay at home and not get paid'.

“Why has it taken the prime minister so long to guarantee income for all self-employed workers? There are millions of them – our economy has changed.”

Later, in his final Commons speech as Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell told MPs: “If people claim fraudulently while still working, they will rightly be prosecuted.

“But right now millions of cabbies, childminders, plumbers, electricians, painters and decorators and actors have all lost work or closed down their businesses.

“As have builders, designated as the self-employed under the construction industry scheme and they have no income. They need a solution, now.”

And in the final minutes before the Commons adjourned for Easter, Labour and SNP MPs protested angrily over the Chancellor preparing to unveil his package when Parliament is no longer sitting.

But the Commons Leader, Jacob Rees-Mogg, told MPs: “I have been informed that it is a complicated package that is not in fact ready for announcement today. Had it been ready today, it would have been brought forward today.

“The Government are keen to get on with this announcement, which will provide support and comfort to a large number of the self-employed.

“There is no discourtesy to the House. It is being worked on as quickly as possible, but it is not yet ready. The plans have not been completed.

“What has been announced, and what was announced by the Prime Minister at his press conference, is that the plans will be announced tomorrow and they will be completed in time for tomorrow's press conference.”

By Jon Craig: Chief political correspondent

UK turns to Dyson for 10,000 ventilators to fight coronavirus

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 26th Mar 2020) London, UK —

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain made an emergency order of 10,000 ventilators designed at breakneck speed by bagless vacuum cleaner company Dyson, the first fruits of an industry-wide call to arms to prepare for the looming peak of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ahead of an expected surge of cases that could overwhelm Britain’s publicly funded health service, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an urgent appeal to manufacturers 10 days ago to build ventilators to help keep patients alive.

Billionaire founder James Dyson said he had drawn on the company’s expertise in air movement, motors, power systems, manufacturing and supply chain to design and build an entirely new ventilator, The CoVent, that could be deployed in this time of “grave international crisis”.

“The core challenge was how to design and deliver a new, sophisticated medical product in volume and in an extremely short space of time,” Dyson said on Wednesday evening in an email to staff seen by Reuters.

“The race is now on to get it into production.”

Dyson will have to secure approval from the British medical regulator for the device and its manufacturing process. If it receives the green light, production could start early next month.

The company revolutionised the vacuum cleaner market with its bagless cyclonic device in the 1990s and has since gone on to build air purifiers, hand dryers and fans from its base in south west England and manufacturing plants in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

Separately, British engineer Babcock (BAB.L) said it had joined forces with a leading medical equipment company to design a ventilator, while carmakers and aerospace groups are waiting for the government to sign off on an alternative design.

The companies, including some of the biggest names in Formula 1 racing and aerospace such as McLaren and Airbus (AIR.PA), are racing to boost production after the government said it did not have enough ventilators in its armoury.

VENTILATOR RUSH

Britain currently has about 8,000 ventilators with another 8,000 on order to come into the health system in a week or so.

By 0900 GMT on Wednesday some 9,529 people had tested positive for the virus in the United Kingdom while 463 patients had died.

Britain is working to acquire more testing kits to help establish whether people have previously been infected with coronavirus, as opposed to antigen tests which show if someone has the virus as they are experiencing symptoms.

Many staff within the National Health Service (NHS) have not been tested, a major concern for health workers and a cause of mounting criticism of the government’s response.

Chris Whitty, the government’s top medical adviser, said testing was vitally important but a global shortage of the materials needed was causing a supply bottleneck.

“Every country is wanting this new test, for a disease that wasn’t actually being tested for anywhere three months ago,” England’s chief medical officer told a Downing Street news conference on Wednesday.Slideshow (2 Images)

Britain has bought 3.5 million antibody testing kits – largely used to determine if someone has already had the virus – and is currently making sure they work before distributing them.

They will first be used to test health workers.

By Paul Sandle, Kate Holton

British Transport Police deployed to urge people to only make essential journeys

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com–Wed, 25th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

A spokesperson for the mayor says there is no capacity to run a full Tube service due to staff sickness.

Five hundred British Transport Police officers are being deployed to rail stations to “remind” people that only essential journeys should be made.

Sean O'Callaghan, assistant chief constable at BTP, said: “We are supporting rail operators and those key workers making their journeys home tonight by deploying 500 officers across the rail network nationally.

“They will be patrolling stations, supporting railway staff and reminding the public of the urgent need to follow the government advice – only those making essential journeys for work should be using the Tube and rail network.”

He added: “We strongly urge the rest of the public to do the right thing and help us save lives by staying at home and slowing the spread of the virus.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock called for London's Underground service to run “in full” during the coronavirus pandemic.

During his daily coronavirus update, Mr Hancock said running a full service would allow people to stick to social distancing measures and help NHS staff get to work.

“The best answer is that Transport for London should have the Tube running in full so people travelling on the Tube are spaced out and can be further apart, obeying the two-metre rule wherever possible,” he said.

The health secretary added: “There is no good reason in the information that I have seen that the current levels of Tube provision should be as low as they are. We should have more Tube trains running.”

His comments came after commuter trains were still packed on Monday morning, with pictures showing little space between commuters.

Last week, Boris Johnson urged the public to stop all non-essential journeys and keep a distance of two metres from each other to help slow the spread of the virus.

A partial shutdown of the London Underground began last week, with the Waterloo and City line completely shut, Night Tube services suspended and many stations closed.

Transport for London (TfL) further reduced the frequency of services from Monday, saying it would allow critical workers to “get where they need to”.

The London Overground, TfL Rail, the DLR and London trams are also running a reduced service.

Some commuters have said that reductions in train carriages and timetables have caused overcrowding.

Nurse Paul Trevatt tweeted pictures of a busy platform at Finsbury Park station, saying he was “angry at the selfishness of other people”.

Others reported that trains were more empty than usual.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's office said the health secretary's claims are “simply not true” and that the government must do more to stop people working unnecessarily.

A spokeswoman said: “The mayor has told ministers countless times over recent days that TfL simply cannot safely run a full service because of the levels of staff sickness and self-isolation.

“Nearly a third of staff are already absent – there aren't enough drivers and control staff to do it.

“The government must act urgently to get more people staying at home rather than going to work unnecessarily – that means taking the difficult decisions they are refusing to take to ban non-essential construction work and provide proper financial support to freelancers, the self-employed and those on zero-hours contracts to stay at home.”

According to the Department for Transport, demand for rail travel across the UK has fallen by up to 69% on some routes.

In a televised address to the nation last night, the prime minister urged people to stay at home unless they had good reason.

Boris Johnson said people should only go out for essential supplies, exercise once a day, medical needs, to help vulnerable people or to get to work if “absolutely necessary”.

Failure to follow the new rules, which will be in place for at least three weeks, could see police officers dispersing gatherings and imposing fines.

Those flouting the rules could be fined anything from £30 upwards.

By Emily Mee

US Senate agree massive economic relief package worth more than $1.8 trillion

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 25th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

US President Donald Trump and the Senate have agreed a massive economic relief package worth more than $1.8 trillion (£1.5tn).

The package includes money to bail out industries that have been affected by the coronavirus crisis.

Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell described it as a “wartime level of investment” in the economy.

Markets surged in the US on Tuesday in anticipation of a deal, and shares rose in Europe and Asia on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones jumped by 11.4% on Tuesday – its biggest one-day gain since the Great Depression.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index closed 8% higher on Wednesday following news of the relief deal.

Markets in Europe were also trading higher, with London's FTSE 100 index up more than 1%.

Full details of the deal agreed in the US will not be published until later on Wednesday. However, it is expected to contain measures to help people pay bills if they are laid off because of the virus, expand unemployment assistance by $250bn and get $350bn in emergency loans to small firms.

Mr McConnell said it would also “stabilise” key industrial sectors and give money to hospitals and other healthcare providers which were having difficulty getting equipment.

“We're going to pass this legislation later today,” Mr McConnell added.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called the package “the largest rescue package in American history”. He said it was a “Marshall Plan” for hospitals. “Help is on the way, big help and quick help.”

Separately on Tuesday, President Trump said he wanted to get the economy up and running again by Easter.

He said he was speaking to the Coronavirus Taskforce about when to open the US for business and that the Easter weekend -12 April – presented a “beautiful time, a beautiful timeline” and that he hoped to be able to open at least some sections of the country.

Reacting to news of the stimulus package, Tom Stevenson, investment director at fund manager Fidelity International, said: “It's good news, but we're not out of the woods yet.

“When markets are falling, you get these big rallies but you shouldn't get stuck on that. They do bounce around in these situations.”

The latest swing in share prices continues a period of unprecedented volatility as markets react wildly to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

This month alone has seen the Dow having the five biggest daily gains and five biggest falls of its 135-year history.

Many countries are now working on stimulus packages to support their economies, but these plans have received mixed responses from investors.

The US rescue package follows five days of intense negotiations to try to agree a deal that will provide aid for American workers and businesses.

Before it becomes law the deal must get through the Republican-controlled Senate, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and be signed by President Trump.

The US central bank, the Federal Reserve has already announced $4tn in extra lending to help stimulate the economy in the face of the coronavirus.

Last week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin predicted that US unemployment could reach 20%. On Thursday, the Treasury Department will release last week's new jobless claims, and the numbers are expected to be in the millions.

A Goldman Sachs report estimated that the nation's gross domestic product in the second quarter could shrink by 24%, dwarfing the previous 10% record decline in 1958.

Global spread

America is more than midway through a 15-day attempt to slow the spread of the virus through social distancing.

Nearly 19,000 people have died with coronavirus across the planet since it emerged in China's Wuhan province in January, and more than 420,000 infections have been confirmed.

Southern Europe is now at the centre of the pandemic, with Italy and Spain recording hundreds of new deaths every day.

Governments around the world have responded by locking down societies in the hope of slowing the spread of the virus.

Chemical firm in the UK plan to build two hand sanitiser factories in 10 days

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 24th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

Ineos in talks with NHS on supplying products to hospitals for free

Ineos, the chemicals company controlled by the billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, is planning to build two hand sanitiser factories in just 10 days as part of the effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The UK’s biggest private company by sales aims to produce a million bottles of hand sanitiser a month when the plant is in operation, with talks under way with the NHS on supplying the products to hospitals for free.

One factory will be at an existing Ineos site at Newton Aycliffe, near Middlesbrough, while the other will be built in Germany.

Other companies have pledged to use their factories to make hand sanitiser. The independent brewer BrewDog made its first deliveries of free hand sanitiser from its distillery in Aberdeenshire to the NHS’s Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, while France’s LVMH, owner of brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moët & Chandon and Hennessy, has also pledged to switch over its perfume factories.

Tom Crotty, a director at Ineos, said the company had started planning for the factory a week ago, after increasing alcohol production and receiving fast-tracked regulatory approvals.

Ineos is Europe’s largest producer of two of the key ingredients of hand sanitiser, isopropyl alcohol and ethanol, at its factories in Grangemouth, Scotland, and in Germany, but it had found that hand sanitiser producers were all running at full tilt.

“We figured that we’d already pushed as much of our product as possible into these uses but there’s a limit on capacity to produce the gel,” Crotty said. Switching the lines would cost about £2m in the short term, he added, but the company had not yet assessed the potential size of the longer-term market, given the urgent need.

Ratcliffe, whose stake in Ineos is thought to have made him Britain’s third richest person with an £18bn fortune, said he hoped to produce “very substantial supplies” of hand sanitiser for hospital and private use, with talks under way with retailers on making 50ml “pocket bottles” and 250ml containers available to consumers.

Ineos’s pledge comes as the manufacturing sector in Britain and around the world tries to adjust to the needs of countries in pandemic lockdowns.

The UK government last week asked companies to step forward to help it produce ventilators to help people for whom Covid-19 made breathing difficult.

Aerospace and automotive manufacturers were among those asked by Boris Johnson to rapidly retool their factories to build ventilator parts, with a need for 20,000 at short notice.

The aircraft manufacturer Airbus and the carmakers Nissan and McLaren are among the companies thought to be working to produce parts, using existing facilities that in many cases already have the clean environments needed for medical devices.

By Jasper Jolly

Coronavirus: Sports Direct U-turns on opening after widespread criticism

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Tue, 24th Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

Sports Direct has performed a U-turn on keeping its shops open during the coronavirus lockdown following a backlash over its plans.

The government has ordered all UK shops selling non-essential goods to close.

Sports Direct initially said it would remain open as it was “uniquely well placed to help keep the UK as fit and healthy as possible”.

But after widespread criticism, it now says it will not open “until we are given the go-ahead by the government”.

Sports Direct's chief financial officer, Chris Wootton, said the chain was contacting the government “at all levels” to confirm whether its shops were deemed to provide an essential service.

But Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said on Tuesday morning that he could not see “any justification” for it to stay open.

“The key thing we need to do is make sure people wherever possible stay at home. Yes it's important people exercise but that should be done once a day and it's a basic thing,” he told ITV's Good Morning Britain.

“People can walk, run or cycle, they should, but there is no reason for a store like Sports Direct to remain open.”

The retailer had argued that it provided an essential service. Bosses at the company said the sports equipment it sells can be used to exercise at home at a time when gyms have been closed.

In a letter written by Frasers Group, which owns Sports Direct and Evans Cycles, Mr Wootton had said: “Thus our Sports Direct and Evans Cycles stores will remain open where possible to allow us to do this (in accordance with the government's current social distancing guidance).

“There is no one else that has the range of product and range of stores to make this reasonably accessible for the whole population.”

Bicycle shops are on the list of retailers that are allowed to stay open during the shutdown.

But Paddy Lillis, general secretary of the shop workers' trade union Usdaw, told the BBC's Today programme: “I can't see how it [Sports Direct] is an essential service. It's a sports clothing company.

“In my mind, an essential service would include food and medicine and the supply chain around that,” as well as the National Health Service, he said.

Sports Direct's initial plan to stay open drew widespread backlash on social media.

Ian Lavery MP, chair of the Labour Party, told the company's founder and chief executive Mike Ashley to “take some responsibility”.

Who on earth does Mike Ashley think he is ????

He’s now prepared to endanger the life of his employees and the public at large.

Selling sports wear is not a essential service

Take some responsibility SHUT UP SHOP

End of Twitter post by @IanLaveryMP

Which retailers will close?

A number of High Street retailers and food chains had already shut prior to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement on Monday evening, which set out strict new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

The government has now issued a list of which “essential” retailers are allowed to stay open. They include:

  • Supermarkets and other food shops
  • Pharmacies
  • Petrol stations
  • Newsagents
  • Bicycle shops
  • Home and hardware stores
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • Garages
  • Pet shops
  • Post Offices
  • Banks

Businesses will still be able to take online orders and deliver items to people's homes.

The government this week said it would pay the wages of employees unable to work due to the coronavirus pandemic, in a move aimed at protecting people's jobs.

It will pay 80% of salary for staff who are kept on by their employer, covering wages of up to £2,500 a month.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday:

  • A closely-watched economic survey indicated there had been “record slump” in UK business activity in March as emergency public health measures dealt a “severe blow” to the economy. The compilers of the survey said the figures suggested “a recession of a scale we have not seen in modern history is looking increasingly likely”
  • Waitrose became the first UK supermarket to announce it would limit the number of people who could be in a store at any one time
  • B&Q said it would close temporarily to prepare its stores for selling “essential products”
  • The boss of the Wetherspoon pub chain said its staff should feel free to take jobs at supermarkets such as Tesco while its pubs remain closed.

Many retail and hospitality firms have warned the pandemic could see them collapse, wiping out thousands of jobs, as life in the UK is put on hold.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of retail lobby group the British Retail Consortium, said many shops had already closed temporarily.

“Any retailers that remain open will be following the very latest government public health guidance to ensure they do everything they can to ensure the safety of customers and staff,” she said.

Worries over self-employed

The government had already ordered pubs, restaurants and cafes to close amid concerns that people were ignoring its advice to keep social contact to a minimum.

Monday night's announcement came as the number of UK deaths from coronavirus hit 335, while there were 6,650 confirmed cases.

Many of the big brands to have already announced closures have promised to pay their staff for several weeks until the government's coronavirus job retention scheme kicks in.

However, concern is growing about the millions of self-employed and gig economy workers who will be forced to rely on benefits in the absence of targeted support.

Neil Carberry, boss of lobby group the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said the announcement reinforced the need for businesses and workers to access government support measures “as quickly as possible”.

“With the economy and jobs market in lockdown, all employers can do is stand by their staff as far as possible and reap the benefits during the post-crisis comeback,” he added.

Rail season ticket commuters to get refund

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 23rd Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

Commuters with rail season tickets will receive a refund if they choose to stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak, the government has promised.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it would “ensure no-one is unfairly out of pocket for doing the right thing”.

The refund is part of a package of measures to support train companies.

There has been a 70% drop in passenger numbers and ticket sales have dropped by two-thirds, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

As a result, the firms responsible for keeping the trains running are facing “significant drops” in their income, the government said. The number of services they run has also been cut.

To stop those firms from going under, the DfT has suspended all rail franchise agreements, which govern things such as how many trains run each hour and and restrict how much the companies that run them can charge for tickets.

Under these contracts, the train operators are generally required to make payments to the government to run services on parts of the rail network.

However, DfT has now suspended these agreements for six months.

Instead, all the money from fares will be paid to the government, which will also take on the financial risk of running the network, to save firms from going under as a result of the slump in demand.

However, the train operators will continue to run the services “for a small predetermined management fee”, the DfT said.

Analysis: Tom Burridge

In reality this was the government's only option.

The annual cost of running all of the UK's trains is around £12bn.

With passenger numbers plummeting and ticket revenue plunging with it, the government had to step in to plug the gap.

A lot of taxpayer cash already goes into the railways, but over the next six months an additional injection of several billion pounds might be needed so that the network can still operate.

Sadly, the reduction in the number of train services running doesn't save much money. The train companies have other high fixed costs such as staffing and the price of leasing trains.

This temporary emergency rail system that we'll soon have is more akin to a nationalised model.

Private companies will run the trains but the government underwrites it all and, during this exceptional time, carries the losses.

We still can't rule out the possibility that once the details of each deal are worked out, a train company or two pulls out. In that situation, the franchises affected would have to be nationalised.


“This will allow us to ensure that trains necessary for key workers and essential travel continue to operate,” the DfT said in a statement.

However, it warned: “No other passengers should travel.”

Mr Shapps said: “We are taking this action to protect the key workers who depend on our railways to carry on their vital roles, the hardworking commuters who have radically altered their lives to combat the spread of coronavirus, and the frontline rail staff who are keeping the country moving.”

The move was welcomed by the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail.

“The rail industry is working together so that people and goods can keep making essential journeys during this unprecedented national challenge, getting key workers to hospitals, food to shops and fuel to power stations,” said Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group.

“While we need to finalise the details, this will ensure that train companies can focus all their efforts on delivering a vital service at a time of national need.”

McDonald’s to close all restaurants in UK and Ireland on Monday

(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Mon, 23rd Mar 2020) London, Uk – –

Fellow fast-food chain Nando’s is also closing more 400 outlets across Great Britain

All McDonald’s restaurants in the UK and the Republic of Ireland will close by 7pm on Monday to protect the safety of employees and customers, the company said.

The announcement followed news from other retailers including Waterstones, Primark and Patisserie Valerie that they would also close. Later on Sunday Nando’s announced its outlets would also close.

The fast-food company said it had taken the “difficult decision” in a statement posted to Twitter – adding that stores will close by that time on Monday “at the latest”.

The decision comes after Boris Johnson called for pubs, clubs and restaurants to shut on Friday.

The company had already removed all its seating areas but was continuing to serve takeaway food.

In a statement on Sunday night, UK and Ireland CEO Paul Pomroy said: “Over the last 24 hours, it has become clear that maintaining safe social distancing whilst operating busy takeaway and Drive Thru restaurants is increasingly difficult.

“This is not a decision we are taking lightly, but one made with the wellbeing and safety of our employees in mind as well as in the best interests of our customers.

“We will work with local community groups to responsibly distribute food and drink from our restaurants in the coming days.

“Thank you to our brilliant employees for their hard work during this incredibly challenging time.

“We look forward to seeing you all again as soon as it is safe for us to reopen.”

Nando’s has also said it will temporarily close all its restaurants in the UK “until further notice”. The chain has more than 400 restaurants in the country and said the decision was “the best course of action”.

Earlier, Waterstones said it would close its 280 UK branches from Monday. Only hours previously its chief executive, James Daunt, had said the bookstore chain was “no different to a supermarket or a pharmacy” and would stay open during the coronavirus shutdown.

However, he said the chain had decided to close after some staff complained that they felt at risk in the stores and had not been given any protective equipment such as hand sanitiser or gloves.

Fashion retailer Primark closed all 189 of its UK stores from Sunday evening. About 37,000 employees will be affected by the closures but will be provided with full pay for 14 days, the company said.

That came after other clothing and fashion chains including John Lewis, Kurt Geiger, New Look and Topshop announced store closures. “Our main priority is the health and wellbeing of our employees,” a spokesman for Primark said.

Other retailers have been forced to temporarily close, in line with government guidelines on social distancing.

Media retailer HMV said it was closing “with a heavy heart”, adding that it had kept its stores open for as long as possible because of “how much entertainment can support people during difficult times”.

Timpson chief executive James Timpson tweeted that that the company’s shoe repair stores were going into “hibernation” – with all 2,150 outlets closing by 5pm on Monday, but “all our wonderful colleagues will remain on full pay”.Topics

The 27 Year Old Living On $615K A Year In Seattle

Source CNBC

Todd Baldwin is a 27-year-old who lives just outside Seattle, WA and brings in $615,000 a year. His day job is in commercial health insurance and earns him $150,000 per year before commission. He owns 6 rental properties with his wife Angela that net $12,500 per month. Here's where his money philosophy comes from and how he chooses to spend, or not spend it.